Sweet Trouble

Rants, raves, book reviews and one girl's thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Books that Stand the Test of Time

I'm inspired by Charlaine Harris' latest blog (see link to the right) to list, not my latest finds from the library, but those books that I return to year after year.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis: I read these fabulous books for the first time in sixth grade, and I've been reading them almost once a year since then. Oh, not all seven, but certainly the first three. They've renumbered the books in the past few years, but for me the first three will always be "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian," and "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." I was in high school before I caught the Christian allegories in the first and last books, and now at an even more advanced age I still find something new in those slim volumes with every reading.

  • Alanna and other books by Tamora Pierce: I discovered these gems while working in the children's section of the Seminole County library some ten years ago. Love at first sight ensued. At that time Ms Pierce only had six books in print, now there are over 23! I don't read all twenty plus each year, but I do come back to them again and again and again.

  • Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Series: This one was on Charlaine's list, too. Glad we have that much in common. The Anita Series is a grown up Buffy the Vampire Slayer (well, that was for grown ups, too) but with so much more. Holding true to the adage that the best science fiction changes just one thing LKH gives us a world where vampires are made legal and everything that goes bump in the night is real. For all of the creepy crawlies involved, these stories are at their best as fantastical serial killer/mystery novels. My favorite scene in all of them is when the main character recites bible verses to ward off a demon and finds a sort of spiritual comfort in her unusual place in the world. Don't let that fool you, though, the later novels in this series have as much in common with the Kama Sutra as they do anything of Chrisitan spiritual origin.

  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley: A stand alone novel of these epic proportions is a rare thing these days, much less a slim volume that conveys so much so succinctly. In an era of more is more, this little book is a refreshing adventure. One of the most memorable descriptive passages that created such a strong visual it stayed with me for years is actually only one sentence. Writing finesse aside, McKinley created a protagonist who is readily identifiable to anyone who has felt that they have never quite fit in, and this feeling of empathy makes the path she treads a personal one.

I am sure I will think of other book to add to this list, but these are the ones that were right at the top of my head. Other books that I keep handy, the ones that are the first to be unpacked after each move, include: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series, Rowling's Harry Potter novels, Anne McCaffrey's Rowen and it's sequels, Toni Ringo Helfer's Gentle Jungle and James Herriot's lovely novels of a vet's life in Scotland.


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